Secret Scotland

If it's secret, and in Scotland…

And now… Ultra Secret England

Nuns with gunsYou will no doubt have noticed all the wailing and moaning about Google’s Street View from the various skivers that might have been caught sneaking the odd unauthorised smoking break outside the work, or others who might perchance have caught in the right car but in the wrong place and with wrong partner.

Given the amount of hysteria the media seems keen to whip up over this feature, or rather just keeps on repeating the same story time after time, you might be forgiven for wondering what’s happened to all the people who like to say of CCTV and surveillance systems: “If you’ve nothing to hide, you’ve nothing to fear”. You’d think they would be the firsdt out in the streets cheering at everything being visible online.

With all the supposed anti-Street View stories circulating, you might be forgiven for thinking there are a lot of people out there with a lot to hide and a lot to fear.

None more so it seems than the Buckinghamshire village of Broughton, which has made the news with its opinion of being seen on Street View.

So fearful are the residents – they say of being burgled if their village appears on Street View (they must all read that fine publication, The Daily Mail, which promotes this idea, daft as it is) – that they ran out of their houses, banged on one another’s doors, and formed a mob to intimidate the driver of the Google camera car, force it to turn around and leave the village.

The ringleader, one Paul Jacobs, formed a posse to surround the car driver.

Jacobs said there had been three burglaries in the last six weeks (and without the help of Street View too!), “If our houses are plastered all over Google, it’s an invitation for more criminals to strike”.

I’m trying to follow the logic, but there’s clearly something wrong with my brain, as it can’t quote work out how having an old, out of date photograph of a publicly visible place that anyone (if not spotted and surrounded by a posse) can take a current, new photograph of at any time, translates into an invitation for criminals.

The only criminal thing I see here is a mob attacking, or at least intimidating or threatening a driver in a car, to the extent they felt the need to leave a public place.

I hope this link lead to some nice, detailed pics of the correct Broughton, I don’t know the place, and I won’t be daring to visit. There seems to be quite a few places with the same name, but this one lies near Buckingham.

There seems to be something marked as HM Young Offenders Institution on the map, a little way to the northwest.

Bet they don’t like that in Broughton.


Apparently the thugs at Broughton were interviewed by BBC TV the day after the news item was published, but I was out and missed it.

Like most bullies, they haven’t really thought things through, and while they seem to be most upset by the possibility of Google Street View showing an old and out of date image taken from the street, which they think invites criminal to strike, they are perfectly happy – and said so on camera – for estate agents to publish current photographs and details of properties for sale there.

Now forgive me for not being a professional criminal (maybe), but if I was researching a village with the intention of cherry-picking the best properties to make a withdrawal from, what would I prefer to use?

Google Street View – offering relatively poor quality, old pictures of streets I could walk down and study freely, and take detailed photographs of for myself, zooming in on any security features I was interested in.

Estate agents details – offering current photographs of properties for sale, detailing their interior, number of rooms, layout, outbuildings, gardens and access. Most modern estate agents also provide detailed photographs of the interior to show off the rooms, and these show all the owner’s possessions, collections, audio and visual equipment, and presence of any alarm sensors in the rooms. The fact that the property is for sale also signifies that it may be lying empty, and just opened for viewing.

Not only that, the property list is constantly being updated, sold properties are removed, and new ones added.

Yes, I know what I’d worry about if given the choice of Google Street View, or an estate agent advertising properties for sale.


April 3, 2009 - Posted by | Civilian | ,

1 Comment »

  1. […] mentioned the thugs from the (English) village of Broughton in And now… Ultra Secret England, which was also reported in The Timesonline casino. That article carries a quotation from the thug […]


    Pingback by Secret Scotland | April 11, 2009

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